CHICAGO – A pair of clutch pins lifted the University of Chicago wrestling team to a dramatic 21-19 win over New York University, clinching the team title in the process at Saturday's 2018 University Athletic Association (UAA) Championships.
The No. 23-ranked Maroons (10-3 record) earned their first conference crown since 2011, snapping NYU's six-year title streak. It marks the 16th UAA title for UChicago wrestling.
NYU and Case Western Reserve University opened up action at the Ratner Athletics Center, with the Violets coming away with a 31-15 triumph.
Next on the docket was UChicago versus Case Western Reserve. Senior Devan Richter (125 pounds) set the pace with a first-period pin to begin the matchup. The hosts would ultimately take nine of the 10 weight classes to rout the Spartans 40-3. Sophomore Kahlan Lee-Lermer (165 pounds) and senior Nick Ferraro (174 pounds) posted back-to-back pins in the first period. First-year Jason Crary also scored a 15-0 technical fall at 157 pounds. Junior Mason Williams came within one point of a tech fall himself – 17-3 at 149 pounds.
It all came down to the Maroons against the Violets in the last match of the day. Before the starting lineups were announced, UChicago Head Coach Leo Kocher was honored with the UAA Founders Medal. Now in his 39th season, Kocher has helmed the Maroons for the entire history of the UAA, which was established in 1986.
Richter provided early points once again with a 7-5 decision in the opener. The Violets tied it up with a victory at 133 pounds, but then were forced to forfeit at 141 due to injury. NYU found some momentum with a major decision (149) and a regular decision (157), taking a 10-9 lead in the team scoring at the midpoint of the match.
With his team facing a narrow deficit, Lee-Lermer delivered exactly what the Maroons needed. The sophomore 165-pounder caught his opponent in a compromising position and immediately turned him onto his back for a pin in the second period. Ferraro followed with a pin of his own at the almost identical time as his teammate. The pair of falls put UChicago in the driver's seat, up 21-10 with three matches to go.
NYU managed to secure decisions in the remaining three bouts. However, UChicago wrestled well defensively to keep bonus points at bay. When the final horn sounded, the Maroons were champions by 21-19 margin.
Three UChicago wrestlers were picked to the All-Association Team – Richter, Lee-Lermer and Ferraro. Crary was also selected as the UAA Rookie of the Year, while Kocher and his assistants were voted UAA Coaching Staff of the Year.
"We beat a pretty good NYU team today – they won six out of 10 weight classes against us," Kocher said. "We had to get bonus points, and keep bonus point off of the scoreboard for NYU. Nick and Kahlan scored crucial pins, while Louis, Jason Crary and John Jayne fought off major decisions in their losses – denying NYU the extra points that would have given them the win. It was good to see our fourth-year wrestlers undefeated for the day."
University of Chicago 40, Case Western Reserve University 3
125 - Devan Richter (UC) def. Anand Shah (CWRU), Fall (2:10)
133 - Louis Demarco (UC) def. Alec Hoover (CWRU), 6-4 decision
141 - Andrew Hoover (CWRU) def. Alec Gleason, 5-1 decision
149 - Mason Williams (UC) def. Thomas Gallagher (CWRU), 17-3 major decision
157 - Jason Crary (UC) def. Andrew Munn (CWRU), 15-0 technical fall (5:16)
165 - Kahlan Lee-Lermer (UC) def. Connor Gordon (CWRU), Fall (1:03)
174 - Nick Ferraro (UC) def. Nick Tommas (CWRU), Fall (1:24)
184 - Jason Lynch (UC) def. Nate Tommas (CWRU), 11-8 decision
197 - Joseph Scheidt (UC) def. Gavin Dersh-Fisher (CWRU), 12-3 major decision
285 - Will Hare (UC) def. Brian McNamara (CWRU), 3-0 decision
University of Chicago 21, New York University 19
125 - Devan Richter (UC) def. Landon McBride (NYU), 7-5 decision
133 - Matt Noble (NYU) def. Louis Demarco (UC), 10-3 decision
141 - Chaise Hauck (UC) won via forfeit
149 - Evan Drill (NYU) def. Grant Morrison (UC), 21-8 major decision
157 - Raymond Jazikoff (NYU) def. Jason Crary (UC), 7-1 decision
165 - Kahlan Lee-Lermer (UC) def. Matt Coppola (NYU), Fall (4:47)
174 - Nick Ferraro (UC) def. Maykel Dolorit (NYU), Fall (2:43)
184 - Jackson Kligerman (NYU) def. Jason Lynch (UC), 3-2 decision
197 - Jack La Corte (NYU) def. John Jayne (UC), 7-1 decision
285 - Santino Pelusi (NYU) def. Will Hare (UC), 5-2 decision
- Friday-Saturday, Feb. 23-24 – UChicago at NCAA Midwest Regional